Dahr Jamail: for those who doubted the sad truth

2006-03-21

Richard Moore

     Relatives, however, said 11 bodies wrapped in blankets were
     driven in the back of three pickup trucks to the Tikrit
     General Hospital, about 40 miles north of where the air
     strike occurred.

     As usual, reality contradicted the claims by the US military
     of only four dead, when AP photographs showed the bodies of
     two men, five children and four other covered figures
     arriving at the hospital accompanied by grief-stricken
     relatives.

     Even a police captain from nearby Samarra, Laith Mohammed,
     said that American warplanes and armor were used in the
     strike which flatted the house, killing all 11 people
     inside.

--------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 17:11:33 -0700
To: •••@••.•••
From: •••@••.•••
Subject: Iraq Dispatches: Operation Swarm of Lies

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** Visit the Dahr Jamail Iraq website
http://dahrjamailiraq.com **
** Website by http://jeffpflueger.com **

*Operation Swarm of Lies*
By Dahr Jamail
t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday 20 March 2006

The stated mission of Operation Swarmer, launched late last
week in an area just northeast of Samarra, in Iraq, was to
"break up a center of insurgent resistance" and to disrupt
"terrorist activity," according to the US military.

Comprised of over 1,500 US and Iraqi soldiers, 50 US attack
and transport helicopters airlifted the bold force into a
flat area of farmland filled not with fighters belonging to
the "center of insurgent resistance," but with impoverished
farmers, cows, goats and women baking bread. The first drop
of soldiers onto the ground from this air-operation doubled
the meager population of 1,500 souls living in the 50
square-mile area.

US troops acted bravely, snatching up 48 "suspected
insurgents," then promptly releasing 17 of them. They were
precise in their operations, and did not detain a single cow
or goat.

What did the military say about why no resistance was met?

"We believe we achieved tactical surprise," said Lt. Col.
Edward Loomis, the spokesman for the 101st Airborne
Division.

Fallaciously hailed as the largest air assault in Iraq since
the Anglo-American invasion three years ago, Lt. Col. Loomis
said that two days into the operation his forces "continue
to move" through the area, and "tactical interviews began
immediately." According to Time magazine
<http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1174448,00.html>
reporters:

     "Four Black Hawk helicopters landed in a wheat field and
     dropped off a television crew, three photographers, three
     print reporters and three Iraqi government officials right
     into the middle of Operation Swarmer. Iraqi soldiers in
     newly painted humvees, green and red Iraqi flags stenciled
     on the tailgates, had just finished searching the farm
     populated by a half-dozen skinny cows and a woman kneading
     freshly risen dough and slapping it to the walls of a mud
     oven. But contrary to what many television networks
     erroneously reported, the operation was by no means the
     largest use of airpower since the start of the war. ("Air
     Assault" is a military term that refers specifically to
     transporting troops into an area.) In fact, there were no
     air-strikes and no leading insurgents were nabbed in an
     operation that some skeptical military analysts described as
     little more than a photo op. What's more, there were no
     shots fired at all and the units had met no resistance, said
     the US and Iraqi commanders."

Of course, the US military claimed that two local leaders of
the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi were to have been in
the area, but alas, they were not to be caught up in
Operation Swarmer or any of the "tactical interviews."

Meanwhile on Sunday, fresh from a relaxing weekend at Camp
David, Mr. Bush said of Iraq, "I'm encouraged by the
progress," while talking to reporters on the South Lawn of
the White House.

Bush, his comments sticking to the talking points of his
administration which surround this three year anniversary of
the launching of Operation Iraqi Freedom, nearly mirrored
those made recently by General Peter Pace. Pace, as you
recall, when asked on "Meet the Press" about Iraq, said
things were "going very, very well from everything you look
at."

Operation Swarm of Lies is part of yet another Cheney
administration media blitz to put a happy face on this
horrendously failed misadventure in Iraq. All too aware of
the plummeting US public support for the war effort, and
with approval ratings for the so-called president at an all
time low, Bush had been sent out on the campaign trail to
apply fresh gloss to the tattered sheen of the US occupation
of Iraq. Sticking with their talking points of having Iraqi
forces take over security responsibilities, the primary
purpose of Operation Swarm of Lies was obviously to send the
message to Americans that the US military are allowing
Iraqis to "take the fight to the enemy."

But this operation of mass distraction has served other
purposes as well.

Operation Swarm of Lies served well in diverting media
attention in the US from US/UK covert operations in Iran
last Friday.

Even the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported
<http://www.cbc.ca/story/world/national/2006/03/17/iran060317.html>
that Iran's national police chief, Ismail
Ahmadi Moghaddamm, accused US and British agents of playing
a role in the deaths of 21 people in southeastern Iran.
Moghaddamm accused the intelligence services of both the US
and UK of encouraging attacks by Iranian rebel groups
against civilians.

Operation Swarm of Lies also effectively distracted media
attention from the arrest of an American "security
contractor" in Tikrit last week. According to the Joint
Coordination Center between the US and Iraqi military in
Tikrit, "the man is described as a security contractor
working for a private company," and he "possessed explosives
which were found in his car" when he was arrested last
Tuesday
<http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-03-14T102336Z_01_OLI434593_RTRUKOC_0_US-IRAQ-AMERICAN.xml&arhived=False>.

This incident was also reported on al-Sharqiyah Television
on March 14th , where they added that the man was arrested
during an imposed curfew, and "he had explosives in his car,
noting that contacts are being held between officials in
Salah al-Din Governorate and US Army officials regarding the
incident."

Meanwhile back in the Motherland, "Vice" President Cheney
said this past weekend that Iraq is not in a civil war, but
that terrorists there were involved in desperate tactics to
stop Iraq's move towards democracy.

"What we've seen is a serious effort by them to foment a
civil war," Cheney said during an interview on the CBS
program "Face the Nation" recently, "But I don't think
they've been successful."

He's right - the Iraqi people have thus far managed,
miraculously, to thwart the ongoing attempts by the
occupiers to "foment civil war."

Because the recent incident in Tikrit is but one example of
many which have shown who the real terrorists are in Iraq.
Even just last September, two undercover British SAS
soldiers were detained by Iraqi police in Basra. The Brits
were dressed as Iraqis, traveling in an unmarked civilian
car, and "Iraqi security officials ... accused the two
Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying
to plant explosives. Photographs of the two men in custody
showed them in civilian clothes."

According the same article by the Washington Post
<http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/19/AR2005091900572.html>,

the British military promptly
razed the Iraqi jail in order to free their two soldiers. In
response, Mohammed Walli, the governor of the province, told
news agencies that the British assault was "barbaric, savage
and irresponsible."

Barbaric, savage and irresponsible are words that can also
be used to describe the true nature of Operation Swarm of
Lies.

Just this past Sunday, the Director of the Monitoring Net of
Human Rights in Iraq (MHRI), Muhamad al-Deraji, issued an
appeal to the UN mission in Baghdad regarding violations
committed by the US military operation near Samarra.

"We have received information from citizens and human rights
activists in Samarra stating that the region, under American
and Iraqi military operation ... is witnessing dangerous
human rights violations, which is confirmed by the
following:

     1 - The Red Crescent aiding missions are not allowed to
     enter the region.

     2 - [Independent] Press and media are, as well,
     forbidden from entering the region.

     3 - Women and children are not allowed to leave the
     region of military operations.

     4 - Receipt of news indicates presence of violations and
     assault for citizens aiming to terrorize them and forces
     them to emigrate from this region, through arresting the
     men and forcing women and their horrified children to
     escape later, on and leave the region aiming to build a
     military base there."

Most importantly, however, is the human tragedy which
Operation Swarm of Lies has both generated as well as
diverted attention from.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs,
via the Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
reported on Sunday, "Hundreds of families displaced
<http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=52300&SelectRegion=Middle_East&SelectCountry=IRAQ>

due to major
offensive."

The report says "hundreds of families have fled the city of
Samarra" as the result of Operation Swarmer. Barakat
Muhammad, a resident and father of five who lives in Samarra
told IRIN, "When they started to hit our city I didn't take
anything. I just took my family and ran like hell. We don't
have anything to eat or wear."

Despite claims by the US military that no shots were fired,
obviously bombs were dropped on civilians.

The IRIN report adds that "local doctors say that at least
35 civilians, including women and children, have been
treated at the local hospital with injuries caused by the
air strikes. In addition, 18 bodies had been taken to the
hospital since 17 March."

Yet there have been ongoing air strikes north/northeast of
Baghdad since at least last Wednesday.

According to the aforementioned Iraqi NGO MHRI, as well as
AP reporters, "eleven people - most of them women and
children - have been killed after US forces bombed a house
during a raid north of Baghdad." The US military
acknowledged <http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11819857/> the
raid which occurred near Balad, about 50 miles north of
Baghdad, but said only four people were killed - a man, two
women and a child.

Relatives, however, said 11 bodies wrapped in blankets were
driven in the back of three pickup trucks to the Tikrit
General Hospital, about 40 miles north of where the air
strike occurred.

As usual, reality contradicted the claims by the US military
of only four dead, when AP photographs showed the bodies of
two men, five children and four other covered figures
arriving at the hospital accompanied by grief-stricken
relatives.

Even a police captain from nearby Samarra, Laith Mohammed,
said that American warplanes and armor were used in the
strike which flatted the house, killing all 11 people
inside.

An AP reporter at the scene of the bombing in the rural area
of Isahaqi said "the roof of the house collapsed, three cars
were destroyed and two cows killed."

Riyadh Majid, the nephew of the head of the family who was
killed, told the AP that US forces landed in helicopters and
raided the home early last Wednesday. Ahmed Khalaf, the
brother of the deceased head of the household, said nine of
the victims were family members who lived at the house and
two were visitors.

"The killed family was not part of the resistance, they were
women and children," said Khalaf, "The Americans have
promised us a better life, but we get only death."

As per their now standard operating procedure, the US
military claimed the strike targeted an individual
"suspected" of supporting al-Qaida. And as usual, the
military claimed they were under attack from the house.

"Troops were engaged by enemy fire as they approached the
building," according to Tech. Sgt. Stacy Simon, "Coalition
forces returned fire utilizing both air and ground assets."

And the al-Qaida suspects killed by this particular air
strike were of the younger variety
<http://209.97.202.24/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album37&id=clip_image002>

this time around, again as usual
<http://209.97.202.24/gallery/view_photo.php?set_albumName=album37&id=clip_image001>
for the US military in Iraq.

But of course, all of this was effectively overshadowed by Operation
Swarm of Lies.

///

To view more photos of the results of the US air-strike on
the home in Balad, click here
<http://209.97.202.24/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=album37>

_______________________________________________
(c)2004, 2005 Dahr Jamail.

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